Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) – New Defra Announcements

SFI 2022 can be seen as the first substantial step in phasing in the new “public goods” schemes as the phasing out of Basic Payment. Defra have provided an update on the ‘Sustainable Farming Incentive’ on 2nd December 2021 addressing matters such as eligibility; agreement lengths; common land; two soil standards; the draft moorland and rough grazing standard and the annual health and welfare review.

Eligibility – SFI 2022 will be open only to Basic Payment claimants (that might change from 2024) on land fully in England.

Agreement Lengths – SFI agreements will last for 3 years, with some flexibility for farmers to amend them every 12 months from their start date. Dates to be announced in the New Year & later schemes may have more flexible applications.

Common Land – Common land will be eligible for the SFI through group agreements.

The Standards and Payments – SFI 2022 will be offering the following standards:

  • Arable & horticultural soils & Improved Grassland soils (these focus on soil healthand fertility with the carbon sequestration possible in many soils)
    • arable and horticultural soils – introductory level – £22/ha
    • arable and horticultural soils – intermediate level – £40/ha
    • improved grass land soils – introductory level – £28/ha
    • improved grassland soils – intermediate level – £58/ha
  • Moorland & rough grazing (the moorland and rough grazing standard is focused on assessing moorlands soils and habitats, and their condition)
    • The payment rate is to be £148 per agreement each year plus an additional variable payment rate £6.45/ha each year
    • Intermediate & advanced levels to follow in SFI rollout.

Annual Health & Welfare Review – The SFI will fund a yearly farm visit from a vet or vet-led team –with a view to providing recommendations and actions that improve animal health, these will be offered at the following rates (per review):

  • pigs – £684
  • sheep – £436
  • beef cattle – £522
  • dairy cattle – £372

For further information provided by DEFRA, please review the link below.

Sustainable Farming Incentive – how the scheme will work in 2022

Please contact Chris Muir or Beth Dickinson for further details.


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